(Poet's title: An den Schlaf)
Set by Schubert:
Komm, und senke die umflorten Schwingen,
Süßer Schlummer, auf den müden Blick!
Segner! Freund! in deinen Armen dringen
Trost und Balsam auf’s verlorne Glück.
Come and lower your gentle wings
Over my tired eyes, sweet sleep!
Bless me, friend! Your arms deliver
Comfort and balm for my lost happiness.
All translations into English that appear on this website, unless otherwise stated, are by Malcolm Wren. You are free to use them on condition that you acknowledge Malcolm Wren as the translator and schubertsong.uk as the source. Unless otherwise stated, the comments and essays that appear after the texts and translations are by Malcolm Wren and are © Copyright.
There are plenty of hints that the language here is not ‘literal’. Sleep is said to have both ‘wings’ that can settle over our eyes and ‘arms’ which embrace us to deliver comfort and balm. It can deliver a blessing and act as a friend. Yes, an insomniac might long for actual sleep to bring about some sort of healing, but we are left with the suspicion that the sleep being addressed here will offer annihilation rather than recovery. Perhaps the title should be ‘An den Tod’, To Death.
Note in Schochow: “Schubert nennt Uz als Dichter, doch findet sich die Strophe nicht unter den Gedichten von Uz.” – Schubert names Uz as the author of this text, but these lines have not been found among Uz’s poems.